According to Careers in Psychology, premarital counselling is defined as a specialized type of therapy that helps couples prepare for marriage. By participating in premarital counselling prior to their wedding, couples can begin to build a healthy, strong relationship that helps provide a healthier foundation for their union. It is a crucial preparation for the couples to be because it allows them to get a sneak peek into what lies ahead in the marriage life.
Although it is not obligatory, most religious settings require pre-marital counselling as a pre-requisite to the marriage ceremony. It is like a gym to muscle building or warm for the athletes; It helps in creating flexibility and power to the marriage muscle.
In Marriage preparation counselling, the couple is given pertinent information such as dating requirements after marriage, parenting expectations and the corresponding consequences of having children, financial planning, romance and sex education, family planning, communication and conflict resolution, religious and spiritual roles as required of each spouse. Spiritual leaders who also carry out pre-marital counselling will quote the Holy books to support the teachings. Non-religious counsellors will base their teachings on the legal and socio-cultural foundations.
Dating Requirements: Premarital counselling helps couples identify each individual’s personal preferences and to see if the two mates are compatible. Some couples discover that they are not compatible at this stage and decide to call off their marriage relationship. This prevents divorces and broken marriages that could have ensued. Other mates learn more about their lovers and adjust accordingly in order to match up.
Parenting expectations: During premarital sessions, the mates are encouraged to discuss future parenting expectations such as, whether or not to have children, how many and when. If not, other alternatives are discussed. Here parenting roles and activities are planned, such as the stay at home mum or dad, the breadwinner etc.
Financial Planning: A good premarital counsellor should put to task the couple, on the issue of finances and their planning knowledge, This is important because most divorces today as a result of poor or non-existent financial planning. The use of a financial advisor would be a very important addition.
Romance and Sex Education: One important purpose of this counselling is to guide the lovers on the importance of maintaining a healthy sexual relationship in marriage. Romance should not be compromised after a wedding ceremony or after the children’s arrival. Various ways of rekindling romance are discussed, Couples should also seek to educate themselves on sex education and romance at every age of their marriage.
Communication and Conflict Resolution: Premarital counselling addresses the importance of effective communication between couples and the importance of swift, diplomatic conflict resolution. Unresolved conflicts before marriage need to be addressed to avoid carrying the baggage over to the new relationship.
Spiritual Roles: Prayer, mentorship, motivation are a major ingredient in any relationship. Mates are taught the importance of being each other’s cheerleader and motivator. Spouses are meant to be a team playing on the same side.
In each case, there is a wealth of information that the couple will get from attending a premarital counselling which in turn becomes useful in marriage. Although premarital counselling is very instrumental to a marriage relationship, it is not exhaustive. Individuals should strive to embrace lifelong learning and growth in their relationship as time goes by. Changing socio-cultural elements, legal frameworks and other factors also do affect marriage relationships in very dynamic ways. Therefore the spouses should keep abreast in order to overcome challenges within these frameworks.